Collections and Archives

Assorted papers and photos on a tableThe National Museum of American History Archives

The American Music collections at the National Museum of American History documents America's diverse popular and musical tradition and performances. It holds the The Duke Ellington Collection, The Ella Fitzgerald Collection, and several other music collections that you can find described on the Archives Center's web site including The Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music containing images, music, and lyrics of American life and culture between 1790 and the 1980s.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries catalog may be searched via SIRIS, The Smithsonian Institution Research Information. The Libraries hold databases and e-journals, digital collections, and special collections.

The Archives of American Art

Contained in the over five thousand collections, are letters, diaries, sketches and sketchbooks, photographs, exhibition catalogs, scrapbooks, business records, art periodicals, and other types of documents, totaling roughly fourteen million items. The collections, combined with approximately three thousand interviews done for AAA's oral history program, and nearly one thousand photographs in AAA's Photographs of Artists Collections, are an endless treasure trove of raw material for art historians and scholars in other fields to explore. Of particular note are the Bruce Mitchell and Gertrude Abercombie collections. The AAA catalog can be searched online.

Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives

The Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA) provides integrated access to descriptions and detailed inventories of thousands of primary resource collections maintained by archival units across the Smithsonian.

  • Discover archival collections related by topic and/or by names of persons, families, businesses, and organizations regardless of where the collection lives within the incredibly vast resources of the Smithsonian.
  • Explore digital content from archival collections, such as letters, manuscripts, diaries and journals, ledgers and stock books, photographs, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and drawings, technical drawings and blueprints, field notebooks, log books, rare printed materials, sound recordings, videos, and much more.
  • Connect with an archivist to learn more about and gain access to the physical materials.